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Learning MBSR: fifth evening of the course - the value of "difficult" practice sessions & of "concentration"

Yesterday evening was the fifth session of the MBSR course that I'm attending.  I'd missed the fourth session because of my wife's birthday, but I did jot down some thoughts last week in the blog post "Learning MBSR: ... body scan, Damasio on identity, and informal practice".  There were seven of us attending tonight's session, so two were missing.  We began with a straight 45 minute sitting meditation - slightly "marines" when my usual practice is 20 minutes.  The experience of "swimming out" into a longer group practice echoes back for me to a series of meditation retreats I went to in my 20's.  Memories, not so much visual or verbal, more a sense in my body of poignancy, happiness, strength, youthfulness, openness.  Strange.

Learning MBSR: fourth evening of the course - body scan, Damasio on identity, and informal practice

I wrote last week about the third evening of this eight session MBSR course.  The fourth session was yesterday evening and I missed it.  It was my wife's birthday and I'd told the course teacher when I enrolled that I wouldn't get to this fourth meeting ... or to the seventh meeting when I'll also be away.  It's not ideal.  My practice has been poorer this last week, both because I've been particularly busy and also because I haven't been back to get the weekly commitment boost that tends to come from attending the class.  I've still practised mindfulness meditations every day, but it's felt more like a routine to be squeezed in than a particularly rich exploration over these last several days. 

Learning MBSR: third evening of the course - the surprising importance of practising mindfulness during movement

Well last night was the third session of this MBSR course.  I wrote last week about the second evening and also about mindfulness during daily activities.  We packed a lot into this session - there were four practical meditation exercises involving attending to sounds, breath & body awareness, mindfulness during movement & a brief breathing space.  We also had quite extensive group discussions of our experience during each of these practices, a pair exercise to discuss our "homework" last week (it felt helpful to me that this was a bit longer than last session's pair discussion) and more general "homework" exploration in the group.

Mindfulness during daily activities: is it helpful to vary the proportions of the five facets?

"If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life."    Wu-men

This is one of a series of blog posts triggered by attending a MBSR training - see for example the recent "Learning mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR): second evening of the course".  A key aspect of the training is the development of "mindfulness" in everyday life.  To me, mindfulness during daily activities seems to have different flavours at different times.  I wonder if this is useful, if varying the flavour depending on the situation can be helpful?  Here are three examples from the last three days:

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